BY: MOLLY NAGLE, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) — Joe Biden’s campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders acknowledged Sunday that the former vice president’s campaign has work to do to woo Latino voters with just over 50 days until the November election.
“We know we have work to do and we have said from the beginning and Vice President Biden has been very clear about this — as has Sen. (Kamala) Harris — and we’re really working to earn every single vote in this country and we want to earn the votes of the Latino and Hispanic community and so we’re doing the work,” Sanders told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”
“You saw Sen. Harris out in Florida just this past week. She also did virtual events in Arizona. Vice President Biden himself will be traveling to Florida next week and we’ll be doing virtual events and interviews, because we’re committed to doing the work,” Sanders added.
While Biden holds an advantage to Trump among Latino voters in recent national polling, his support with the key voting group is weaker than Hillary Clinton’s in 2016, and a recent NBC News/Marist Florida poll showed President Donald Trump leading Biden in support with Latino voters in the state, 50% to 46%, and with a sizable lead among Cuban voters.
In recent weeks, Biden has been more active on the campaign trail, making visits to key battleground states including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign — despite attacks from Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller — in an earlier interview on “This Week” — and from Trump Saturday night when he said that the former vice president is campaigning in “his damn basement again.”
“The reality is Vice President Biden is actively campaigning, as is Sen. Harris, but the difference is, George, we’re doing so safely. We’re letting the science lead us, we are listening to the experts. You know, safety is of the utmost importance to our campaign — the safety of the voters, the safety of our campaign staff, and that is why Vice President Biden is modeling good behavior,” Sanders said when challenged by Stephanopoulos.
“He’s wearing a mask, we’re social distancing, as you’ll see in our events and press conferences. That stands in stark opposition to what President Trump is doing, having huge rallies with large groups of people who are packed in together.”
Prior to his increased travel, the former vice president’s campaign was largely conducted virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Biden honing his campaign message around what he considers Trump’s lack of action to contain the virus.
The debate intensified this week with the release of new recordings of the president in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward admitting, according to reports, that he deliberately minimized the seriousness of the novel coronavirus to the public despite understanding its true danger.
In response Wednesday, Trump did not deny downplaying the threat the pandemic posed to the American public, saying he didn’t “want to create panic.”
“I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength. We want to show strength as a nation. And that’s what I’ve done,” Trump said.
In a speech Wednesday in Warren, Michigan, Biden said the president “knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months” and called the decision to downplay the threat as “a life-and-death betrayal of the American people.”
While Biden raised concerns about the country’s ability to deal with a pandemic in October, and penned an op-ed raising concerns about Trump’s ability to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in late January, when pressed by Stephanopoulos on what specific actions Biden advocated the country take early in the year to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, Sanders argued that Biden did not have the same information that the president was receiving about the severity of the virus.
“I asked you specifically about January and February, I saw the op-ed the president — the vice president wrote in October, I saw the one he wrote in January. But he didn’t explicitly call for travel bans or social distancing or wearing mask,” Stephanopoulos asked.
“In January and February, Joe Biden was not being briefed by national security experts who warned him how deadly the virus was. In January and February, Joe Biden did not have the knowledge that President Trump did. But I will tell you that if Joe Biden were president in January or February, he would have taken proper precautions. He would have told the American people,” Sanders responded.
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